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Welsh universities warn 1,000 jobs are at-risk due to loss of EU funding later this year

60 ongoing projects are set to lose support

Universities in Wales have warned that 1,000 staff members could lose their jobs following the withdrawal of EU structural funding later this year. 

Between 2014 and 2020, Welsh universities received around £370 million in research projects investment from EU structural funds via the European Regional Development Fund and the European Social Fund. Following the UK’s withdrawal from the EU, 60 ongoing projects are set to lose support this year. 

Cardiff University has said that 12 of its projects were due to end this year with a further five projects whose funding ended last year already in the process of closing. The projects supported around 700 jobs at the institution with around 100 roles now believed to be at risk. 

Cardiff University’s vice-chancellor Colin Riordan told Research Professional News: “The aim of these projects was to create jobs and stimulate economic activity through innovation, so it’s going to be a big loss not just in terms of the university but also the region.”

Around 240 jobs are set to be affected in Swansea University, with the majority of staff losing their jobs when the projects come to an end. Discussing the loss in funding, vice-chancellor Paul Boyle said:  “It’s going to have national implications for jobs, businesses and innovation activity across the whole of the UK, but it’s a particularly damaging issue for us.

Paul Spencer, pro-vice-chancellor for research at Bangor University said the institution already lost 50 staff last year as projects came to an end and noted that it’s “quite a challenge because it’s difficult to get those people back.”

Several of the affected projects in Bangor University supported the local business economy and among these is the Knowledge Economy Skills Scholarship (KESS-2) which allows companies in Wales to carry out knowledge transfer with PhD students.

The UK government has promised to cover lost investment through its £2.6 billion UK Shared Prosperity Fund but universities have said that delays in the rollout of the fund, combined with lower levels of investment and uncertainties regarding the distribution of money will mean that numerous projects are facing abrupt closure.

Feature Image Credit: YouTube 

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